During the off-season, General Manager Brian Gutekunst claimed kicker Sam Ficken off of waivers to provide competition for Mason Crosby.

Crosby will turn 35 before the season starts and has been the Packers kicker since he was drafted in 2007. He has been consistently ranked as one of the better kickers in the league. Crosby is also the Packers all-time leading scorer. He has provided the Packers with stability at a position that not only keeps coaches up at night, but a position where teams are constantly looking for a long-term solution.

Sam Ficken is a strong legged kicker, was brought in to provide competition to Crosby. He has been a worthy opponent this far, but has been unable to provide the knock-out punch needed to take the job from Crosby.

Mason Crosby struggled last year and his numbers were slightly down from his career averages. Training camp started off slowly as he had a calf injury. Since recovering from the calf injury, Crosby has put together a very solid pre-season, as he has been almost near-perfect.

This Thursday night is Sam Ficken’s last opportunity to take the spot from Crosby. If not, maybe he performs well enough, were instead of cutting him, Gutekunst can find another team who needs a kicker and would be willing to trade for him.

Even with Ficken’s strong leg, there is a lot of variables here for Gutekunst and head coach Matt Lafleur to think about. The weather conditions that the Packers play in through out the year are constantly changing, especially during November and December. Crosby definitely knows how to handle those elements. With this being Lafleur first season at the helm, kicker is one position where he could have a sense of calmness.

Mason Crosby is in the last year of his contract, in which he is the highest paid kicker in the league. It is right for the team to do its due diligence on trying to find their next kicker. For this season though, the Packers should keep Crosby as their kicker.

Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag